Episode 33: "How Long Does It Take to Heal from an Abusive Relationship?"Support the show
Today, we’re talking about healing from abusive relationships – how long it takes and what are some of the options for healing.
This is Jessica Skultety, Community Outreach Associate at Safe+Sound Somerset, Somerset County New Jersey's lead domestic violence organization, providing services at no charge for survivors of dating and domestic abuse for over 40 years.
Today's question from local teens is: How long does it take to heal from an abusive relationship?
Everyone’s journey is different. Healing from trauma takes work and patience. Taking time to yourself, mindfulness, counseling, and services from a domestic violence organization like ours, Safe+Sound Somerset, can help start your healing journey.
If you’re leaving a relationship that made you feel scared, alone, or less confident, you’re not alone and you have all the power in the healing process. You are in charge of your life and you get to decide your next steps. You can move forward in your life, and while you will never forget your experiences, you can, with time and work, lead a happy and safe life. Ignoring past trauma or a problem is not healing because, chances are, we haven’t fully thought about how these past experiences are affecting our current lives. Part of healing is processing what happened and understanding how it impacts us now, and then figuring out how to cope with it throughout our lives.
You can do this and don’t be afraid to reach out for support, whether that be to a trusted family member or friend, or for professional services. Please know that reaching out is NOT a sign of weakness as we often think. It’s actually a sign of strength! As humans, we are never meant to do things all alone. Even if you don’t want to share all of the details of your relationship, that’s okay. Find someone who has supported you in the past (and maybe throughout your relationship) and spend time with them. Make plans to do fun activities and spend time together to give yourself something to enjoy.
Think about reaching out to professional services for survivors of abusive relationships to help you along your healing journey. For example, at Safe+Sound Somerset, we offer free services for children, teens and adults including many counseling options. Our clinicians are trained specifically to work with people who have experienced abuse. For more information on our counseling services, text or call our 24/7 hotline at 866-685-1122.
Practicing mindfulness can also help people heal – it’s a way of concentrating on something else for a while. It’s also a great way to take care of yourself and take a break every day – it can be a way of life, with practice. Practicing mindfulness doesn’t mean that our pain or problems will go away, but it helps us calm down and relieves stress. It also helps us look at problems and things that stress us out, without judgement.
One easy way to practice mindfulness is taking several deep breaths. Notice your breaths and take your time. Maybe you want to lower your eyelids or close your eyes. Just taking 2 minutes to do this can calm you down during a stressful time. There are all kinds of activities out there for mindfulness for individuals and groups. Look around on Google and listen to our episode: “Ask Ava + COVID-19: Mindfulness Activities.”
In next week’s episode, we’ll answer a question about how to build up confidence and feel comfortable after an abusive relationship.
Call or text the S+SS 24/7 hotline at 866-685-1122 for supportive listening and information.
Want to “Ask Ava” a question? Visit our website at www.safe-sound.org/ask-ava. Thank you for listening today. Join us next time here on Ask Ava.